Accidents are scary no matter what age you are. The long-term trauma suffered by adults after a car accident can be even more severe for a child, and so one of the ways to make sure a crash involving child passengers doesn’t become tragic is to be well aware of Alberta’s child safety seat regulations. Every driver in Alberta legally assumes responsibility for the proper seat belt security of their passengers under 16 years of age.
At Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary, we make every attempt to save our clients money on their car insurance premiums. As an independent brokerage for the insurance products of up to as many as fifteen nationally recognised insurers, we also offer handy tips on the things you can do to keep your claims rate low and prevent serious incidents on the road.
Alberta Child Safety Seat Requirements by Age and Weight
Infants who are under a year old, who haven’t yet reached a weight of 10kg, (22 lbs.), and who aren’t yet walking, not only must be seated and strapped in to a certified rear-facing child safety seat. Many rear-facing seats are adjustable and allow for use beyond these weight and age guidelines. As it is by far the safest seating position for developing infants and toddlers, consider keeping your young one rear-facing as long as you can.
After your child celebrates their first birthday, so long as he or she has reached the 10kg weight threshold, and is walking, you may begin using a forward facing car seat. This type of seat, which has over the shoulder belts that plug into a five-point restraint configuration, must be used to a weight of 18kg, (40 lbs.), or until the child has reached the age of six. The five-point restraint harness type of forward facing car seat is recommended to remain in use until the child has reached 30kg, (65 lbs.), if the seat adjusts that much and the child will tolerate it.
Booster seats are for use when your child has outgrown the forward facing front seat. Many five-point restraint seats in fact have removable back rests to convert the base into booster seats. Children under 9 years of age and who weigh between 18 and 36 kg, (40 and 80 lbs.), or who haven’t reached 145 cm, (4’ 9”), are safest when using a booster seat. At this size an adult seat belt still crosses the child’s body too high upon the abdomen and across the neck. This mismatch is mitigated by a proper booster seat, and prevents more serious injuries in the event of a collision. Make sure to lower the shoulder adjustment for the seat belt as low as it will go, and always mount a steel slack anchor on the shoulder belt to limit its play out from the retraction reel.
Read Your Manual
Following all of these laws to the letter will not make any child safer if you install the child seat incorrectly. Make sure that you thoroughly read and understand the instruction manual before you attempt to install the seat. Also, never buy a used child seat. It may have been stressed in a previous collision, could be obsolete, or it may even have been subject to a safety recall. By buying a brand new seat, all of the parts will be there and the instructions will be with the seat.
The Seat is Under Control, How’s Everything Else?
As every parent knows, child passengers can provide endless distractions from the back seats, some of which are dangerous. These distractions can also be compounded by a pet running loose in the back. Try to ensure that all of your charges, human and canine, are properly restrained, and amply entertained so that they don’t turn to mischief while you are trying to be a safe driver.
Contact Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary. For Alberta.
For a free quote on car insurance throughout Alberta, or to discuss your current coverage, contact Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary today.